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Arista Networks Expands Portfolio With New Gigabit Ethernet Switch

Arista Networks has introduced a new high-end Gigabit Ethernet switch that the company says is designed to handle heavy traffic flows more seamlessly with less latency between the 1Gb servers and 10Gb storage servers that make up so many data centers. The switch is ideal for heavily loaded, next-generation data centers using asymmetric 1Gb and 10Gb Ethernet connections to support storage and Web-based applications, the company says.

The Arista 7048 features 48 RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet ports and four 1/10Gb Ethernet uplinks, delivering up to 40 gigabits of interconnect capacity to the backbone. Anshul Sadana, Arista's VP of customer and systems engineering, says the 7048 has 768MB of packet memory, whereas many 1Gb switches on the market have 4-8Mb, or in some cases 16Mb of packet memory. To make up for the speed mismatch when moving traffic between 1Gb and 10Gb servers, switch makers typically have relied on buffering, but that can affect reliability and latency. "We have almost 50 times more packet memory than most in the industry, so customers can be assured that this switch is not going to be a bottleneck, and it is not going to drop packets. That's the real architecture in this switch," Sadana says. "The 7048 is not designed to be a low-end, Gigabit switch you'd use if you are just running a few servers. It is truly designed for high-end, high-performance applications."

The switch's 10 GbE uplink ports—four as opposed to the more typical two found in most Gigabit switches—boost the 7048's non-blocking performance so that it's better able to handle heavier traffic loads. "All four can be active at the same time," Sadana says. Arista has also designed the switch's power and cooling options. The switch features redundant power and cooling options, including both front-to-back and back-to-front airflow options for energy efficiency. "When you talk about the data center, cooling cannot be side-to-side. The 7048 features hot-swappable, completely redundant cooling fans that cool front-to-back and back-to-front," says Sadana.

Arista has partnered with Citrix Systems and is integrating the vendor's NetScaler VPX load balancing and application security software. Because most of the switches in the 1GB space have weaker processors, load balancers can't be added directly to the switches, so companies have to buy separate load balancers for their data centers, Sadana says "The 7048 has 1.8GHz CPU with 2GB (gigabytes) of memory. What that allows you to do is run applications and do a lot more on your switch, including running a load balancer."  Arista has been running Citrix System's load balancing software on the 7048 in the lab, and Sadana says the company expects to have the software feature ready—available to customers of the 7048 as a software module that can be downloaded—within the first half of 2010.

The 7048 is built on Arista's Extensible Operating System (EOS), a purpose-built data center network operating system already shipping on the Arista 7100 Series of 1/10GbE switches. EOS offers open access to Linux tools, extensible network services and allows easy integration with third-party applications such as Citrix NetScaler VPX, according to Arista. EOS provides a single system-image across all Arista networking platforms delivering mission critical data center features such as Stateful Fault Repair and In-Service Software Upgrades.